What Is Photo Retouching: Photo Retouching vs Photo Editing

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Cameras don’t always do a photo justice, which explains why most of the images we see online or in person have gone through some form of post-processing.

Even our mobile devices have built-in editing features that have made us accustomed to adjustments in our photos. Although some people prefer raw images, most modern-day photographers beg to differ. Whether you’re dealing with beauty, landscape, model, or portrait photography, a proper retouch or edit can make a world of difference!

If you would like to have your photos professionally edited, we’ll be happy to do the work for you. At Image Restoration Center, you can rely on our photo restoration experts to help you achieve more eye-catching photos!

Still not convinced? Read on to find out “what is photo retouching?” and “why might you need it?”


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What Is Photo Retouching

For decades, photographers would use different methods to process, edit, and make adjustments to the photos they take. Today, digital software allows us to easily enhance the mood and tone of our photographs – similar to color grading a film. Many photographers and retouchers use Photoshop as their editing software of choice to create more impressive photos for professional and personal reasons.

Retouching can range from basic to drastic, so it can be a challenging process if you aren’t an experienced photo retoucher. While there are many ways to edit photos using free software, there are no guarantees that you’ll get things right on your own. It takes a lot of skill to post-process photos professionally, which is why most people prefer to pay for retouching services for reliable and consistent results.

a photo expert working on photoshop lightroom retouching photos

Photo Editing vs Photo Retouching

Photo editing and retouching can help professional photographers control every single aspect of their images before publishing. But although these terms may be related, they mean two completely different things in the world of photography.

What Is Photo Editing For?

Editing an image means that you only work on altering minimal aspects of a photo while retaining its original composition. The process is so simple that an edit can be accomplished in a matter of minutes! It involves making basic adjustments to the contrast, color, exposure, and cropping of a photograph. When it comes to editing, less is more.

What Is Photo Retouching For?

Retouching means opting to remove or add elements into an image using digital software like Photoshop. It uses photo manipulation to enhance, recreate, and combine several images into one cohesive photo. In this case, going the extra mile is worth the effort for impressive results!

Why Should You Retouch Your Photos

This is one of the most common questions asked by many aspiring photographs and enthusiasts: when is it necessary to retouch? While the answer depends on your personal preferences, you may need to consider a professional retouching for certain situations, like:

  • Making your product or portrait photography look more professional
  • Processing many photos all at once
  • Creating different types of moods with custom adjustments
  • Restoring old or damaged photographs to mint condition
  • Getting rid of defective elements in a photo
  • Salvaging photos shot with the wrong settings
  • Having more control over the final look of your photos

Photo Retouching Mobile Lightroom

Types Of Retouching Services

An experienced photographer would often make use of photo retouching to make corrections and evoke emotions. But before retouching images with Photoshop, retouchers will need to determine the look you would like to achieve. The final product should reflect your ideal preferences, based on the level of retouching you want to achieve.

Basic Retouching

Basic retouching takes the shortest amount of time to complete since it only changes a few elements. It allows you to cover up minor imperfections while staying true to the original image. Some basic retouching services include:

  • Removing pimples, scars, and spots
  • Smoothing the skin
  • Removing stray hairs
  • Correcting colors
  • Whitening teeth and eyes

Advanced Retouching

Advanced retouches take more time to process since retouchers will usually be working on a model, product, and background. However, it offers more flexible options and more comprehensive retouches, including:

  • Removing blemishes
  • Removing stray hairs
  • Correcting colors
  • Adjusting contrast
  • Whitening teeth and eyes
  • Background clean-up
  • Slimming edits
  • Removing stray objects

A photo editor retouching photos on her laptop

Extensive Retouching

Extensive retouching is used when an image requires a lot of corrections. It involves making changes to every aspect of the picture, including adjustments to the background. You may need to wait longer if you plan on getting the following retouches done:

  • Restoring old, damaged photos
  • Correcting color and gamma
  • Whitening eyes and teeth
  • Liquifying the face or body
  • Stylizing the edits
  • Retouching the model and background
  • Compositing images
  • Correcting perspective
  • Adding or removing a person

How Does The Retouching Process Work

The process of retouching images in post varies depending on the look you’re going for, but they typically consist of these popular retouching methods.

Removing Blemishes

The clone stamp tool is often used to remove unsightly blemishes on the skin. If done well, the processing shouldn’t look noticeably retouched. This gives the model a fresher look, increasing the overall attractiveness of an image.

Sharpening And Detail Enhancement

If you have a blurry or fuzzy image, one of the best ways to enhance it is with the sharpening tool. This technique improves the quality of your photo by making it look more textured and refined.

Smoothing And Blurring Skin

The blur tool is widely used for beauty and portrait photography. It softens the appearance of a model’s complexion while reducing unsightly fine lines and wrinkles.

Color Correcting And Colorizing

By adjusting the curves of an image, you can make corrections to the colors and tones according to your creative vision. If you want to color a black and white or sepia image, you may also colorize them for a more modern aesthetic.

A photo editor color correcting a photo on Photoshop

Adjusting White Balance And Highlights

You can improve the general lighting of a photograph by using the white balance and exposure sliders. These tools help you correct underexposed and overexposed photos to achieve the right mix of brightness or shadows.

Compositing High-Quality Images

Composited images are ideal for restoration jobs or mixed-media photography. Photographers will use masks and layers to create a picture by seamlessly blending images together. Composites are ideal for photos with many missing details in the background or foreground, which usually happens because of severe damage or exposure to the elements.

Are you ready to create better photos? Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned photographer, photo editing and retouching can make your pictures look like incredible works of art. With a reliable photo retouching service, you can guarantee that each shot comes out perfect!

If you’re searching for high-quality image editing and photo retouching, Image Restoration Center is one of the most trusted in the business! We’re experts in editing, retouching, and restoring photographs to perfection. Get in touch with us today and have your photos retouched by the pros!


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